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May 17

Jim Croce’s Apology Remains Romantic Even After His Death

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“I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” is a Jim Croce song written in 1973 in the album I Got a Name. The song was released after Jim Croce and five others died in a plane crash in Louisiana, at the age of 30.

The song is a declaration of love and apology to his wife, Ingrid, after a fight. It reached #9 in the charts in 1974, 7 months after his death. The song was written by Jim Croce after a major fight with his wife over his bringing, almost unannounced, 15 people to their house.

Song’s Anatomy

Well, I know it’s kind of late
I hope I didn’t wake you
But what I got to say can’t wait
I know you’d understand

The urgency here is twofold: Jim Croce wants to apologize for the incident, at the same time to express his love, and he indeed does it the best way.

So I’ll have to say I love you in a song

There are numerous songs expressing love; however, since Jim Croche is a lyricist, he naturally writes his own song, about saying “I love you in a song.” This line has been the favorite proposal line for many years.

Every time I tried to tell you
The words just came out wrong
So I’ll have to say I love you in a song

The inability of many men and women to express themselves freely in prose led to some of the greatest songs ever to be written. This is definitely the case here, and furthermore, it explains this phenomenon perfectly.

Died too soon: Jim Croce

Jim Croce was an American folk singer and songwriter. He released five studio albums between 1966 and 1973, before his untimely death in 1973.

Croce was born on January 10, 1943, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started playing the accordion at age 5, and by his 20s, was touring in multiple folk bands. He released five studio albums and 11 singles. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle” were both No. 1 hits on the American charts. Unfortunately, he died in a tragic plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana on September 20, 1973, at the age of 30.

On September 20, 1973, Croce, Muehleisen and four others died in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce had just finished a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum. He was then taking a chartered Beechcraft E18S flight to Sherman, Texas, to play a concert at Austin College. Upon takeoff, the plane did not gain enough altitude and crashed into a pecan tree at the end of the runway. According to the official report, the 57-year-old charter pilot had suffered a heart attack.

Croce is buried at Haym Salomon Cemetery in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Muehleisen is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey.

Watch Jim Croce’s “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” his sole single that entered the country charts.


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I'll Have to Say i Love You in a Song, Jim Croce


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